Sunderland stumbled to a 2-1 defeat against Plymouth on the most miserable of nights on Wearside. Here’s what Lee Johnson had to say about it all…
“There were some culture errors today which I don’t like. I have to go to sleep at night knowing that whatever goes on externally, myself and my squad have consistency and believe in each other. We have to create that cause and that family. It’s important that the lads buy into that and if they don’t, they will be gone quicker than you can say their name.”
“We dominated every stat but the most important one. It seems to be a bit of a theme at home, where we haven’t been as consistent as we should have been – there’s no hiding from that, it’s something we have to address in the second half of the season. The second goal in particular was a really poor one to concede. We didn’t switch on quickly enough, we didn’t come across quickly enough, we didn’t organise quickly enough, and they played a three-versus-two around us. We have to start the game better. We didn’t adapt to the conditions as well as our opponents. But in between, we completely dominated the play. There was a lot of good stuff, some great approaches into the final third, but then a lack of final delivery – execution in the final action, whether that was a clean strike on goal, not overhitting a cross, whatever. It can take a level of gravitas to do that when you are one-nil down."
“We have work to do, there’s no denying that. We are not on top form but so much of our game is solid and competent and now we have to take that a little bit further and on a more consistent basis. It’s an opportunity missed, if I’m honest. I really do think that. I believe that if we were at it, we would have won the game. I suppose you have to give credit to the opposition for being under the cosh for so long and then seeing out the moments that mattered. We have to do the world-class basics, like we did on Saturday, and nab the clean sheet. On too many occasions there have been one or two shots on goal and that has led to us conceding. That’s frustrating, because it is taking us 14 or 15 to score.”
LJ also highlighted the lack of investment on the playing surfaces at both the SOL and AOL: “We’re going to need to invest in pitches,” he said. “That’s at the training ground and here. If you want to play fast, zippy attacking football, it does slow us down. The man of the match today was the groundsman, he was absolutely outstanding to get this game on. All of our ground-staff have been brilliant, but they need investment in their area of the club. I think it’s something that’s been dripped and drained away, and it does become an important part of the way we want to play.”